The First City Monument Bank (FCMB) says it made an error of posting N573 million into the church account of Pastor Emmanuel Omale.
The Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) had accused Ibrahim Magu, suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), of allegedly using Pastor Omale, founder of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, to launder funds abroad.
The committee said the former EFCC acting chairman purchased a property in Dubai using Omale’s name — an allegation the pastor has denied.
Magu is currently being investigated by the committee headed by Ayo Salami, former president of the appeal court, for allegedly mismanaging loot recovered by the anti-graft agency.
Testifying before the committee on Thursday, Adam Nuru, managing director of FCMB, said the bank just discovered the mistake upon invitation by the committee — four years after the money was posted.
“On January 16, 2016, we made a return to NFIU which indicated that there was a transaction of an inflow of well over N573million. (N573,228,40),” the bank MD said.
“This return was said to be in favour of Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries Account No 1486743019.
“After that report, we conducted an investigation and discovered that the lodgement which we reported to NFIU was an error.
“The error was as a result of the fact that we were using a bank application called Pinnacle-7. However, we migrated from that application to a newer version called Pinnacle-10.
“Usually, when the bank intends to migrate from one application to another, we utilize weekends to carry out the exercise. The migration involves moving all the balances of customers from the previous application to the new application. The account of the Divine Hand Ministries was moved during that migration.
“It was that balance of N573million that was wrongly posted as an inflow into Divine Hand Ministries as reported to NFIU. This error was not peculiar to Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries alone but was also ascribed to 27 other accounts.”
Omale had confirmed that he met Magu in Dubai earlier in the year but not for illegal activity. The pastor said he only prayed with the suspended EFCC boss who had traveled to Arab country for medical reasons.
A letter signed by Omale’s lawyer read in part, “We, however, wish to make the following clarifications to put the public records straight: That our client is the General Overseer of an Inter-denominational/Multi-religious Prayer Ministry.
“That our client, only visited Mr. Ibrahim Magu in a hospital in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, sometime in March 2020.
“That our client never laundered any funds whatsoever for Mr. Ibrahim Magu or for anybody whatsoever. Our client does not own any foreign bank account anywhere in the world.
“That there are no funds whatsoever traceable from Mr. Ibrahim Magu to our client’s bank accounts whatsoever neither has our client received any funds whatsoever from Mr. Ibrahim Magu. Our client has never received any funds whatsoever from anybody on behalf of Mr. Ibrahim Magu.
“That our client does not own any property in Dubai. His name was never used to purchase any property whatsoever in Dubai, United Arab Emirates or anywhere else in any part of the world, neither has he purchased any property nor properties for Mr. Ibrahim Magu in any part of the world whatsoever.”